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STEM Consulting

Backyard STEM Enhancement Project

Funded by:

Thrive Washington

The Child Care Action Council has been awarded a grant to support In-Home Family Childcare providers as they enhance STEM learning in their backyards. Because Thrive by Five, the funding source for our grant, is looking for an innovative approach to education, we had an incredible opportunity to develop a sustainable program for STEM learning in your In-Home Family Childcare setting.

It is important to build a strong foundation in children’s early experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, it is our goal to support you in creating a rich outdoor environment for children’s exploration in these areas. Classes/speaker, individualized coaching, and workshops will be provided, free of charge, with enrollment, along with $200 to fund improvements to your program.

STEM Learning Inside and Outside offers on-site consultation to family child care providers who received coaching and backyard improvements last year to take STEM learning outside. The program offers activities and coaching to family child care providers, who in turn will share these materials and information with parents. The program will create fun, take-home STEM learning activities for children, model these activities on-site with child care providers, and coach these providers on delivering them to parents via their children and connecting with parents about home learning that took place as a result.  By generating interest and enthusiasm with the children in care, it is anticipated that the children will carry these materials home and engage their parents/caregivers in these activities.


STEM activities have included counting down the days of incubation as we anticipated the chicks arrival in our classrooms…


To investigating microscopic life in the water found in our backyard...


Exploring some of the roots of our community’s economy and native traditions, tree rings, large and small have been added to the loose parts available outside for young children to manipulate. The Kiwanis Wood Collection site now provides low cost access to this resource for Family Child Care Providers upon request.


Music walls have been added for children to explore qualities of sound with re-found purposed items with note worthy timbre and tone.


Solar water pumps, gravity fed water walls, and rotary pumps all helped move water from one place to another with our new equipment. 


We had several designs implemented in our backyards, which include imaginary sinks, mud pie kitchens…and counters for mixing concoctions.


And of course gardening was a big success in this project. A few providers received additional assistance from GRUB (Garden Raised Urban Bounty) to build free raised beds and ongoing gardening support in Thurston County.